Are Strawberries acidic? Strawberries and acid reflux: Good or bad

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Christiana George
Christiana Georgehttps://www.thetarttart.com/
Welcome to The Tart Tart, my not-so-tart take on food, writing, and photography. I decided to start up this sucker after repeated nagging from Chris, my fiance, who cannot understand why the sight of a farmer’s market would send me into ecstatic convulsions (okay, total overstatement. I can be quite the histrionic at times). With that said, my interests, though chiefly in food, also span fashion, design, literature, and photography. So don’t mind the seemingly non sequitur odds and ends I toss in posts at times.

Strawberries are one of the greatest sources of dietary fiber, vitamin C, minerals and antioxidants. But some people with significant heartburn will notice an increase in their symptoms after eating strawberries.

So, we ask ourselves, are strawberries acidic?

Strawberries have a relatively low pH, in the range of 3.0-3.5, which indicates that they are in fact acidic. Strawberries are rich in organic acids. They contain ascorbic acid, malic acid and citric acids. Since they are acidic, they can worsen symptoms of acid reflux if not managed properly.

In today’s article, we will discuss the health benefits as well as the drawbacks of eating strawberries. We will also discuss how to manage a love of strawberries for someone who suffers from acid reflux. So let’s get started.

Why are Strawberries acidic?

Strawberries have the pH range of 3.0-3.5 which definitely qualifies them as acidic. At this point, you may feel confused. If strawberries are so acidic, why do they taste so sweet?

Though strawberries are relatively low in sugar, they are sweeter than any other berries. The reason is the presence of volatile organic compounds.

These compounds have the effect of making strawberries taste sweet. Strawberries contain approximately 30 volatile components including esters, alcohols, ketones, aldehydes, and others.

Moreover, as they ripen, strawberries lose their acidic content. Unripe strawberries are very acidic, but as they ripen, they become less acidic. Ripe strawberries have a higher pH (meaning they are less acidic), ripe strawberries’ pH ranges from 3.6 to 4.1.

Fun Fact: You may wonder about strawberries having sexes! Yes you heard me right. They have three varieties: female, male and combo. This was discovered by a farmer in 1840 in Ohio.

Why are strawberries acidic?

pH of various strawberry products

Strawberries & By productspH level of Strawberries
Unripened strawberries3.0-3.5
Ripened strawberries3.6-4.1
Strawberry jam3.0-3.4
Strawberry juice3.44
Strawberry filling3.81-5.00
Table 1: pH of various forms of strawberries

As we can see in the table above, different forms of strawberries have very different levels of acidity. The lower the pH, the more acidic the fruit. These pH ranges will help you to select your strawberries wisely according to your individual sensitivity to acidic foods.

Strawberry nutritional analysis

Content of strawberriesAmount (g/100ml)
Glucose1.89-4.52
Fructose2.14-4.14
Citric acid0.73-1.58
Malic acid0.22-0.69
Table 2: Ingredients that contain the strawberries

From this breakdown, we can see that strawberries are composed primarily of sugars and organic acids. The organic acidic compound has the right potential to worsen symptoms of acid reflux.

Strawberries also increase your HDL (High density lipo-protein, or “good cholesterol”) which is good for our health.

They help control the blood pressure, provide a good amount of vitamin C, are a great source of dietary fiber and antioxidants that help to grow the immunity stronger. There is even a study that claims that they can help your immune system fight cancer.

Related:

Are Onions Acidic or Basic? Avoid With Acid Reflux or Not

Strawberries and acid reflux: Good or bad?

While they have lots of health benefits, strawberries can have some bad effects as well. Unfortunately, strawberries can worsen symptoms of acid reflux and can make your stomach quite upset.

Acid reflux occurs when the muscle at the top of the stomach (called a sphincter) relaxes, which allows stomach contents to pass backwards, and up into the esophagus.

The stomach has a very acidic environment because of the presence of hydrochloric acid. This is secreted by the cells lining the stomach, and it aids in digestion. Therefore, when reflux occurs, this very acidic fluid becomes present in the esophagus.

This creates a burning feeling in the esophagus, chest and sometimes in the mouth. It can also cause vomiting, chest burn and bloating. If left untreated, it can cause dangerous changes to the lining of the esophagus over time.

That is why when we eat more acidic fruits like strawberries, it can exacerbate the acidic environment in the stomach, and predisposes a person to reflux symptoms.

Overall, a person with a history of acid reflux may have trouble again after eating strawberries.

Acid reflux or gastritis should be managed, because it can lead to more severe problems like ulceration, esophagitis, and even esophageal cancer. It can also worsen asthma.

Now, here you may think, how can I continue to eat my favorite food (strawberries!), but be risk free. To help with this, we will show you some hacks that will keep you safe from acid reflux.

frozen strawberries

7 Ways to make strawberries less acidic and healthy

People love strawberries, and crave them. However, they are also acidic, so one should be careful eating them, especially if you have a history of reflux symptoms. Here are 7 suggestions.

Strawberries with alkaline foods

Try to eat strawberries in combination with some more alkaline foods, such as bananas, coconut, or papaya. These more alkaline foods will help lessen the acidic effects of strawberries. 

Having milk

Have some milk right after eating strawberries. This will help you to reduce the acidity inside the stomach. Milk has a higher pH, in the range of 7.0-9.0. Almond milk is particularly helpful in reducing symptoms of heartburn. 

Drinking water

Drink lots of water after having strawberries. Water will help to diffuse the acidity and make the pH higher inside the stomach.

The more water in the stomach, the more it reduces the acidity. Large water content dilutes the acid and makes the pH higher.

Coconut water

Having some coconut water is another way to help reduce acidity. Coconut water is primarily water (94%), and is also a very good source of potassium. This is helpful because potassium and calcium are the two major components that help reduce acidity.

Yogurt 

Yogurt is another food that can help reduce the acidic environment in the stomach, and blunt the effect of eating strawberries. It is also a great source of calcium, potassium and magnesium, all of which help control the flow of acid inside the stomach.

Fun Fact: “ Did you know, strawberries are actually known as “false fruits?” They are not true fruits, because they do not have seeds on the inside. 

What fruit is low in acid?

Here is a list of 10 fruits that are low in acid.

Fruits NamepH level
Avocados6.27-6.58
Persimmon4.42 – 4.7
Cantaloupe6.13 – 6.58
Honeydew Melon6.3 – 6.7
Mangoes5.80-6.00
Dates5.49
Honeydew5.42
Papaya5.20-6.00
Watermelon5.18-5.60
Pear3.6–3.8

Is eating strawberries bad for you?

Nothing is beneficial if eaten in excess. You must be careful about overeating of this fruit, like all fruits. Strawberries are worth taking caution, because their acidity can cause symptoms if overeaten.

Since they are a fruit, strawberries do contain some sugar. If you are trying to control your weight, watching your sugar intake is necessary.

Excessive intake of strawberries might also cause diarrhea, or stomach distress. Strawberries are also a known allergen, so some people may suffer from an allergic reaction.

Are you getting heartburn from strawberries?

One of the most common problems for strawberry lovers is that they face severe heartburn. This is a very common sign of acid reflux.

An unbalanced diet, including excessive intake of acidic foods like strawberries, can cause this problem.

The best solution is to eat acidic foods in moderation, or in combination with more alkaline foods. This will help you be able to eat strawberries, while staying healthy.

Heartburn and cravings for strawberries

It’s natural to have cravings for foods as delicious as strawberries. But then we come back to the heartburn issue. We understand that acid reflux is what causes heartburn. How can we solve the heartburn issue?

  • There are some anti-acidic drugs that help to reduce the burn, known as “antacids.”
  • Eat a high alkaline food after having the strawberries such as, bananas, milk, papayas, or coconut.
  • Stay hydrated, and drink milk or water with or after your strawberries.

Fun Fact: Strawberries are the only fruit to ripen in the spring.

Are strawberries acidic to the teeth? Do they damage my teeth?

Yes, strawberries are acidic, and acids can damage the enamel on your teeth. However, strawberries also contain maleic acid, which is beneficial in that it is known to whiten your teeth.  However, strawberries should not be used to whiten the teeth.

The effect of the acidity on the enamel, and sugar which can lead to cavities, means that strawberries probably do more harm than good for your teeth. It is a good idea to brush, or at least rinse your mouth, after eating sugary or acidic foods.

Are frozen strawberries more acidic? Should I have it or avoid it?

Frozen strawberries are more acidic than fresh ones, and have a pH of 3.0 to 3.3 on average. Freezing temperatures slows the ripening process, letting the strawberries remain more acidic. This low temperature is necessary for storing the strawberries.

Fun facts: There’s another type of strawberries called “purple strawberries” which was created by the seed company Burpee.

FAQs

Can strawberries cause acid reflux?

Strawberries that are ripened are safe to eat for a person who has acid reflux. For those who don’t know what acid reflux is, it results from a weakened esophageal sphincter that allows the stomach acid to flow up to the esophagus.

Ripe strawberries have lower acidity and are good for those who have severe problems with the acid. Unripe strawberries are more acidic.

Are strawberries citrus or acidic?

Strawberries have a fair amount of citric acid, but they are not categorized as citrus fruits. Why is this? We first need to know what citrus means. Citrus is the genus of certain trees with flowering quality. Strawberries are grown from small plants on the ground, and are thus not citrus plants.

How to reduce the Acidity of Strawberries?

If you suffer from acid reflux disease yet have a serious craving for strawberries, you can still enjoy them in moderation. You can reduce the acidity of strawberries by eating them alongside something alkaline.

As a liquid in a strawberry smoothie, for instance, unsweetened almond milk is a great choice. Because it complements the flavor of the fruit without adding any sweetness.

Are strawberries acidic for babies?

Many babies love the sweet flavor of berries. If you notice that your baby has signs of acid reflux or any signs of an allergic reaction, please seek medical attention. As with anything, foods are best eaten in moderation, and overall, strawberries are good for health and also a good source of vitamins and fiber.

Why do strawberries taste sweet?

Ripe strawberries are sweet because their acidity has decreased as they ripen, and they also contain various organic compounds that produce the sweet taste. Here another interesting fact is played by the “Auxin”. It’s basically the hormone that makes the fruit taste so sweet.

Conclusion

If you want to include one fruit in your diet that will help you to keep fit and healthy, then strawberries are a good option. Strawberries will fill your requirements on fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.

As always, all foods have pros and cons. And nothing is healthy when eaten in excess. In moderation, strawberries are an excellent addition to most diets.

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